Night Shift

Movie Review by Alice Castle

Starring: Marc Barbe, Gerald Laroche

Director: Philippe Le Guay

The British government has just unveiled a plan whereby schools may be able to expel bullies. For anyone who is currently being bullied, there could well be sighs of relief. Bullying destroys the confidence of thousands of children – but most of them live to tell the tale. What happens though when it is adults who are being bullied at work?

TROIS HUIT (NIGHTSHIFT) is a drama about bullying in the workplace. Pierre a mild-mannered everyman character has just switched to the nightshift team to make some extra money to pay for a house he is building. Used to being liked by everybody, a wonderful husband and father, he is perturbed by the reception he receives from one of his fellow night-shifters Fred, a rugged man’s man who immediately sets about making life difficult for the new recruit.

As with most bullies, the abuse is subtle and sporadic. Sometimes Fred treats Pierre as one of the lads, other times he embarrasses him in front of their workmates and tells lies to humiliate him. On one occasion he tells Pierre it’s his turn to clean the toilets and showers and while the good natured Pierre gets down to it the cleaner arrives and makes him feel particularly stupid. Another time he fools Pierre into lending him money by making up a sob story about daughters he doesn’t even have.

This is small town France – a bottle factory in an industrial region – where word gets about fast and all the workers children attend the same school. When Pierre’s wife goes on a month long duty trip for work, the abuse begins to intensify and make Pierre feel truly emasculated. When his son gets involved he is truly enraged but almost powerless to report the horrible Fred and makes him look like he is a soft touch.

Eventually something’s got to give and Pierre looks like he is on the point of cracking. It’s back to the world of fisticuffs in the playground where the biggest boy wins….. well not exactly, but the end is not disappointing.

4 out of 6 stars

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